Source: Maritime Executive
March 10th 2015
The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced its draft plan in January to lease 14 different offshore areas for oil and gas drilling, including areas in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaskan coast and Atlantic Ocean, in an effort to promote the U.S.’s domestic energy resources as a fundamental element to supporting American jobs and minimizing the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. However, the prospect of offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean raised serious concerns for some environmental activists and lawmakers.
On Monday, 12 Senate Democrats addressed the secretary of the DOI in a letter requesting the removal of offshore drilling on the eastern coast of the Atlantic from the proposed plan.
The senators raised the primary concern of potential oil spills and cited the BP Deepwater Horizon spill as evidence of the fact that such incidences can affect coastlines and the environment hundreds of miles from where the original spill took place. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone also stated that Atlantic oil drilling could jeopardize New Jersey’s coastal communities and the state’s economy as a whole.
The letter additionally addressed the fact that the DOI has neglected to acknowledge the millions of acres of offshore territory already leased for drilling.
Following the DOI’s receipt of the letter, a public hearing for the offshore oil drilling plan was scheduled in New Jersey on March 18th so that federal officials could directly hear from those who would be most impacted by the Atlantic coast drilling.